North Western Reform Synagogue
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|Matot Sermon 2008 - The Danger of a Risk Averse Culture|
Page 5 of 5
Of course we have to take care not to put others or ourselves in dangerous situations. Judaism establishes that responsibility in many ways, for example the commandment to put a parapet on a flat roof in the Book of Deuteronomy and Maimonides understanding that it is a Mitzvah to keep yourself away from things which may damage your health. Yet when the Rabbis speak of the need to put a fence around the Torah (to protect our teachings from becoming corrupted) they also make it clear that that fence should not be higher than what it needs to protect – lest the young shoots be smothered.
Every Jew has the potential to be one of those shoots whose willingness to try something new, to reach out beyond where you are comfortable, to take risks to speak to people who might need your help, to give care beyond the everyday easy stuff, to volunteer your time and energy even when you are not sure exactly of what you are doing. If we only do what we are certain about our society cannot grow to respond to the world around. I hope that we will never keep ourselves so much in our comfort zone that we fail to reach out when we are needed.
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